Katie Byrne: It's wedding season, and your ticket is non-refundable
'Ostensibly, this guest is having the time of his life, but look a little closer and you'll see a man coming to terms with the fact that he has spent the equivalent of a mortgage down payment on four stag dos'
Love is in the air, peonies are in season and gilt-edged invites are beginning to stack up.
Yes, it's wedding season - that magical time of the year when we sacrifice our much-needed summer holidays for Coast dresses, flights to Prague and 'draw a nude' hen packages.
The cost of attending a wedding (or four) these days can be eye-watering. In fact, according to a recent survey by Provident, it's probably much more than you anticipated.
They tallied up the cost of hotels, gifts, outfits, childcare, hen and stag parties, and estimated that guests pay an average of €1,175 per wedding.
It's almost double that if the wedding is abroad.Revealed: This is how much Irish individuals say they'll spend on attending weddings this year
Attending a wedding is a considerable financial undertaking, but spare a thought for couples who have to do it not once, not twice, but thrice during a confetti-strewn summer.
And don't forget those in their early 30s who often have to attend a nuptials every second weekend during the giddy heights of wedding season.
You're probably by now familiar with that one vacant-eyed wedding guest doing a calamitous, arms-akimbo helicopter through the dance floor. The one with his neck-tie wrapped around his head and beer spilled down his front.
Ostensibly, this guest is having the time of his life, but look a little closer and you'll see a man coming to terms with the fact that he has spent the equivalent of a mortgage down payment on four stag dos (two of which he can't even remember).
We all have our own ways of dealing with trauma...
On the plus side, at least he didn't have to cough up for hair, nails, make-up, blister plasters and a teeny-tiny clutch that can barely contain a lipstick, but looks a million dollars (well, €89.99, to be precise).
It reminds me of a viral email sent by a bride and groom to a wedding guest a few years ago. The couple were disappointed with the £100 wedding gift they received from the guest and they were seeking an "adjustment".
"We were surprised that your contribution didn't seem to match the warmth of your good wishes on our big day," they wrote. "In view of your own position, if you wanted to send any adjustment, it would be thankfully received." There was little thought given to how much time or money their guest had spent on the wedding before she handed over her gift.
For the most part, couples are just happy to have their nearest and dearest around them to share their big day, but every so often we hear stories about avaricious Excel addicts who seem to think a wedding budget is the sum total of what guests are willing to give them in cash gifts.
Likewise, some couples truly believe that a guest's presence is their present, to quote the old invite cliché. Yet others see it as a cut and dried, quid-pro-quo financial arrangement.
They're putting on an event - you're a ticket-holder and your ticket is non-refundable.